Articles | Volume 18, issue 2
Research article
01 Feb 2021
Research article |  | 01 Feb 2021

L-band vegetation optical depth as an indicator of plant water potential in a temperate deciduous forest stand

Nataniel M. Holtzman, Leander D. L. Anderegg, Simon Kraatz, Alex Mavrovic, Oliver Sonnentag, Christoforos Pappas, Michael H. Cosh, Alexandre Langlois, Tarendra Lakhankar, Derek Tesser, Nicholas Steiner, Andreas Colliander, Alexandre Roy, and Alexandra G. Konings

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Cited articles

Anderegg, W. R. L., Wolf, A., Arango-Velez, A., Choat, B., Chmura, D. J., Jansen, S., Kolb, T., Li, S., Meinzer, F., Pita, P., Resco de Dios, V., Sperry, J. S., Wolfe, B. T., and Pacala, S.: Plant water potential improves prediction of empirical stomatal models, PLOS ONE, 12, e0185481,, 2017. 
Bahari, Z. A., Pallardy, S. G., and Parker, W. C.: Photosynthesis, Water Relations, and Drought Adaptation in Six Woody Species of Oak-Hickory Forests in Central Missouri, Forest Sci., 31, 557–569, 1985. 
Barnard, D. M., Meinzer, F. C., Lachenbruch, B., Mcculloh, K. A., Johnson, D. M., and Woodruff, D. R.: Climate-related trends in sapwood biophysical properties in two conifers: avoidance of hydraulic dysfunction through coordinated adjustments in xylem efficiency, safety and capacitance: Sapwood biophysical properties, Plant Cell Environ., 34, 643–654,, 2011. 
Bartlett, M. K., Scoffoni, C., and Sack, L.: The determinants of leaf turgor loss point and prediction of drought tolerance of species and biomes: a global meta-analysis: Drivers of plant drought tolerance, Ecol. Lett., 15, 393–405,, 2012. 
Short summary
Microwave radiation coming from Earth's land surface is affected by both soil moisture and the water in plants that cover the soil. We measured such radiation with a sensor elevated above a forest canopy while repeatedly measuring the amount of water stored in trees at the same location. Changes in the microwave signal over time were closely related to tree water storage changes. Satellites with similar sensors could thus be used to monitor how trees in an entire region respond to drought.
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